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If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it is that you should not rely on third-party services for your most cherished habits. In the wake of closures of gyms, bars, shops, and cancellation of concerts and conferences, getting high-grade coffee beverages has become increasingly more difficult.
With new social distancing rules in place, which seem to have become permanent, self-reliance will be more commonplace than ever. Finer coffee connoisseurs, who crave for cold-brewed coffee (CBC), with that refreshing aroma but lacking the astringency, should look to Takeya Beverage Maker.
This user-friendly cold brew coffee maker will make your delicious beverages to be enjoyed any time you desire. It is just the right size for a single person and exceedingly cheap to boot, so you can conveniently store it into even the smallest refrigerators for overnight brewing.
However, if you prefer something bigger or different to better suit your needs, read on to find the best cold brew coffee maker. Once you sift through the rest of this guide, you will be enriched with new coffee insights!
Absolutely! Even if you gave up on coffee at some point in your life due to it being too bitter, cold brew coffee is the optimal solution for you. Moreover, even if you already own a traditional coffee-making machine, a cold brew coffee is entirely different!
The mild, sweeter, less acidic coffee concentrate generated by cold-brewing is more delicious and more refreshing due to higher caffeine content. Think about it this way, with so many coffee makers existing for so many decades, why would there be a need for another line of coffee makers if they were up to the task?
Furthermore, cold-brewing is growing more popular because such beverages are more flexible and refreshing. You can dispense with the water entirely and have milk be the only liquid, thus creating a delicious coffee-flavored milkshake.
The point is, when you are generating coffee concentrate instead of a ready-to-drink beverage, many combinations open up!
Explaining CBC and How to Generate It
Although most people drink their coffee hot and rebel against the very notion of drinking cold coffee, sometimes, hot coffee is not appropriate. In warmer climates/seasons, you would not want to heat yourself up further with a hot beverage. More importantly, the way coffee is prepared makes a huge difference on a molecular level.
As its name suggests, a CBC is created by drowning the grounded coffee in cold aqua. That must take place for at least half a day, or even for a whole day. Consequently, you achieve a richly flavored coffee concentrate that lacks that acidic aroma particular to the coffee plant. Moreover, you can serve it as iced coffee or make a standard hot coffee out of it. The ratio of coffee to liquid (milk or water) should be about 1 part coffee grounds to 4 or 5 parts of liquid.
The balance between these three factors provides us with a solid metric to position each cold brew coffee maker. To test them, we followed the manuals provided, as most people would do. Additionally, the brew time remained the same across the board – 24 hours – as well as the coffee brand you could find in bulk in your local grocery store.
Is There an Expiration Date for CBC?
Once cold-brewed, such coffee concentrate can hold for up to 14 days in your refrigerator. Nonetheless, you should not leave it for more than a week, as the taste will be inferior. Some people may notice this deterioration, and some may not. Lastly, if you already added aqua to the coffee concentrate, you will accelerate its expiration significantly.
Which Kind of Coffee Holds More Caffeine?
Let’s face it; caffeine is a critical fuel for a whole host of professions as it wakes us up and sharpens our mental acuity. Although you shouldn’t go overboard with coffee, if you want to fall asleep on time, coffee has saved many student’s grades.
Enthusiasts already know that instant coffee holds the least amount of caffeine compared to hot-dripped coffee, but where does cold-brewed coffee stand?
Predictably, given that it is a concentrate, it has a significantly higher coffee-to-water ratio. It sits between 1:4 and 1:8. Compared to standard hot coffee drip, which is between 1:14 to 1:26, this is a starkly higher dosage of caffeine.
With that said, it can be easily diluted with water, creamer, or milk. Nonetheless, in cafes, you will find that ready-to-drink cold-brewed coffee holds a higher amount of caffeine. It can range from 280mg per 10 fluid ounces to 200mg per 16 fluid ounces.
Features to Consider When Selecting the Right Coffee Maker
Just like hot coffee machines, CBC makers are not all equal, despite producing relatively the same end result – a CBC. There are some notable factors to consider when trying to figure out which is the best cold brew coffee maker:
How painless is it to deploy?
How straightforward is it to get ready?
Is it big enough or small enough for your particular needs?
Is it manual or non-manual?
How much are you willing to spend?
Does it generate coffee concentrate via Kyoto or Dutch drip method?
Dutch drip employs a gradual drip of water into coffee grounds, while the Kyoto method tends to generate pure coffee concentrate without acidic sediments. Naturally, the Kyoto type is more expensive and more difficult to clean.
Manual CBC types are more efficient and convenient, but they require a higher level of maintenance due to many more moving parts. The cheapest ones consist of nothing more than a container and a disposable filter.
Lastly, which style of material do you prefer? If you opt for a glass/ceramic combo, you will keep the flavor intact. On the other hand, polymer/metal combo will last you longer.
The Testing Process
In order to rate each cold brew iced coffee maker, we have to the grade them based on three factors:
The end-result after brewing – coffee flavor;
How straightforward is it to use the machine on a daily basis?
Is the cost acceptable for what it offers?
Cold Brew Coffee Maker Reviews
Now let’s compare some of the popular cold brew coffee makers. We’ll speak about their features, advantages, and disadvantages.
Presenting hardly any investment at around $20, this manual airtight cold brew maker is the perfect choice if you are still dubious about the whole concept of coffee cold-brewing. Effectively, you are dealing with a plastic pitcher brewer holding a large filtering core in the center. Surprisingly painless to clean and small enough to be placed in the door compartment of your refrigerator. No doubt, if you go for a higher price, you will leave this one behind as the best cold brew coffee maker candidate. However, most people find it perfectly suitable for their needs.
Another exceedingly cheap and manual device, this model follows the same design as Takeya but with a few tweaks: borosilicate glass instead of polymer, finer mesh filter for preventing sediment leakage, and silicone bottom designed to prevent slippage. The size is similarly compact, which means you can also place it into the fridge door.
Usually priced under $15 dollars, this manual cold brew coffee maker has a nifty trick up its sleeve. It is made up entirely of plastic, and its main feature is a dual-lid system, one for the pitcher and one for the coffee grounds plunger. But don’t worry, it doesn’t prevent you from securely locking it to prevent spillage. Like the previous two manual models, its nominal size is 51 oz or 1.5L.
A bit pricey for a glorified jar with a filtered top, but you soon find out why that is the case. This manual cold brew coffee maker is an exemplar of simplicity and robustness. Its stainless steel filter will not only serve you for years to come, but it is also super fine in order to prevent coffee grounds from slipping through. From the ball mason jar, the filter, and the flappable cap, everything is of high quality and durability. Moreover, its size, 64 oz, is just right for two people enjoying everyday coffee drinking.
This premium glass pitcher is what you can settle with if you combine the durability of Cold Brew Mason Jar with one of the three pitchers. Unfortunately, this model is even smaller at only 44 oz. For some reason, this capacity is portrayed as “extra capacity,” which is quite an odd choice of words, to say the least. Still, if you think 1.3L is enough for your daily coffee drinking needs, and one third higher price, it is worth it for the ample filter distributed almost along the entire length of the pitcher.
It’s heavy-duty, professional cold-brewing machinery. Its cold-brewing process is aided by a 16g nitro gas charger, which must be bought separately. It is capable of holding 50 oz inside dual-layered vacuum insulation enveloped by stainless steel. Needless to say, you don’t need a mini-fridge to keep your beverages cold with this bad boy around. If you can afford it, it is well worth it. In the end, you will save money by having luxury drinks in your own home.
That is if you are able to acquire nitro cartridges dependently and cheaply. If we were giving out rewards, uKeg Nitro would definitely be getting the reward for the best home cold brew coffee maker.
An impressive piece of workmanship
Nitro gas adds a sweet tinge to the coffee
Can match the most expensive beverages from barista masters
Thanks to its smaller size from the original OXO model, this hot or cold coffee brewer uses the force of gravity to create a strong coffee beverage. It yields only 16 oz coffee concentrate, but you get a much stronger coffee by default. Without any fuss, it creates a superbly tasting coffee. All you have to do is fill the top with coarse coffee grounds up to the bean icon and pour in water via the holed top end. With this method, you get a strong coffee every time. However, if you want a milder caffeine intake, filling the container with half as much coffee still produces a high-grade coffee beverage lacking in acidity.
Even droplet distribution;
Compacts size makes it fit into any kitchen space
It produces great coffee flavor without worrying about filter clogs and sediment leaks
Rainmaker system delivers one of the best results you can expect
The included carafe isn’t marked for volume measurements
It’s a departure from the rainmaker system and a return to the pitcher design. If you don’t like the plasticky feel of your pitcher, this is as good as you will get for 32 oz capacity. All glass, silicone, and metal with a dual cap system at the top make it very easy to clean.
Dual silicone rings;
You will not have trouble using this pitcher brewer
An evolution of the pitcher design, this glass cold brew coffee maker with 47 oz capacity may spark copycatting among other manufacturers. All thanks to the integrated retractable funnel and metal scoop. With these two elements, the entire process of adding water and coffee grounds is simplified, quicker, and easier. In fact, you just may end up buying it to use these accessories on your other coffee brewers. Furthermore, the long filter has a detachable bottom, so you can swiftly rinse it off coffee sediments without worrying about mold appearing.
A welcome evolution of the pitcher design
Handy accessories that can be used for other coffee makers
Much easier to clean than its counterparts
The bottom is just glass without a non-slip silicone base
This system relies on discardable filters, either paper or wool, which makes it produce a superior-tasting coffee concentrate, without having to worry about oils, acidity, and sediments spilling into your beverage. It prioritizes functionality over design, but you can’t fault it for outstanding results.
Toddy disposable filters;
Fantastically smooth coffee concentrate
Paper filter not only removes acidity but it also makes the system snappy to clean up
No matter what type of CBC system you buy, it is prudent to keep in mind that the power of your coffee will rise proportionally to the quantity of coffee grounds you poured in. Moreover, if you want to avoid troubles in cleaning up filters and sediments leaking into the water, try to always grind your coffee beans to a medium level.
You can even use a pre-ground coffee in combination with the coffee maker’s strainer. To avoid dropping it into the water, try to pour the last portion slowly, so the sediment sits put at the bottom, easily discarded when cleaning later on.
The power of the aroma will also rely on the kind of coffee you use. Between the light, medium, and dark roast, pick the medium brand. Lastly, the strength will rely on the brewing length. Consider 12 hours the minimum and 16 hours as the golden middle. For superior results and a very strong coffee with the right beans, one day will prove to be more than enough. The strength can be further increased if you leave the coffee to brew at room temperature.
Other products listed here will work as well, but only to the extent to which you follow the best practices. As you peruse through cold brew coffee maker reviews, always keep in mind that user error is the most common culprit for poor results.
Have questions about cold brew coffee makers? Here are answers to some of the most common ones.
How Do You Make Cold-Brew Coffee?
You can do it by pouring cold water over grounded coffee grounds, sealing the container, and leaving it to brew between 12-24 hours. As a result, you get a coffee that is high in caffeine, but low in acidity and bitterness.
How Long Does Cold-Brew Coffee Last?
Up to two weeks, but it loses aroma after one week. To ensure that you get the best results, check if your container seal is tight.
What Did the Test Process Consist Of?
It’s important to use the same coffee brand across all 10 models, follow included instructions, and taste the result. Therefore, when all conditions are equalized, we were able to gauge the stated performance of each model.
Why is CBC Growing in Popularity?
Because long, filtered brewing lessens the acidity of the coffee, which is the main reason people might reject coffee as a form of beverage. Such coffee is more flavorful, sweeter, and enjoyable.
Is There a Difference in Caffeine Content?
By default, yes, due to the long-brewing process. However, this can be easily diluted by adding more liquid. Take it as you see it.
Can You DIY at Home?
Yes. Just put roughly grounded coffee into a jar. Fill it up with water, and let it stay between half a day to one day. Afterward, pour it out over some kind of filter. The last part is critical because the whole point is to get the flavor and caffeine and leave the acidic and oily sediments behind.
How Long Does the Process of Removing the Acidic Coffee Taste Take?
Between 12 – 24 hours, depending on the type of coffee. Ultra-fine mesh filters and paper filters are also quite important because they prevent the coffee sediments from spilling into the container.
Does Caffeine Disrupt Sleep?
Yes. Try to avoid consuming coffee, in any form, for at least 6 hours before sleep. Otherwise, your overly stimulated nervous system will have a hard time letting you fall asleep.
Which Type of Coffee Contains the Least Amount of Caffeine?
Instant coffee, due to the way it is made. Through either freeze-drying or spray-drying, coffee extract is made into a very fine powder, making it lose its caffeine potency. On the positive side, you only need to mix it with hot liquid to get instantly invigorating coffee without worrying about acidity.
Superficially, cold coffee brewing may seem like a fad, but it isn’t going anywhere. The boon of a cold-brewed coffee is just too good to omit out of your life. Better taste, more caffeine, richer flavor, and refreshing during summer. What is there not to like?
For your baseline, cheap coffee maker, pick up Takeya Beverage Maker. If you wish for a guaranteed coffee flavor lacking the acidic touch, it would be difficult to pick between OXO BREW Compact and Toddy Cold Brew Coffee Maker System. As a large cold brew coffee maker, the latter requires a steady supply of filters but produces consistently superb results. However, the OXO BREW Compact is in the same league as well, receiving top reviews as the best cold brew coffee maker. For further experimentation that might be finicky until you get the hang of it, is the extravagant GrowlerWerks uKeg Nitro. There is simply no better method to recreate the luxurious Starbucks experience without going there.
Yvonne Ferguson is a culinary enthusiast and dedicated cooking tech reviewer. She’s constantly looking for the most up-to-date products and information to share with IceMakersHub readers. Yvonne enjoys making family-friendly recipes while sharing tips on choosing handy appliances for a healthy life.
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